Affinity Villas Blog

Five of The Best but Mostly Unknown Places to Visit in the Algarve

There are several towns and resorts in the Algarve that attract countless tourists on a daily basis. However, the best places to visit in the area are relatively unknown, yet still close to popular tourist destinations. We hope you find our selection of places to visit useful should you be travelling to the Algarve.

1. Alcoutim

The Algarve is home to several barely populated villages. They offer some of the best places to visit if you're interested in a quick peek at what the Algarve used to be like many years ago. Even the rural drive to Alcoutim feels completely different to the rest of the Algarve’s main roads and yet it is incredibly beautiful thanks to the nearby Guadiana River.

Alcoutim is an exceptional find if you love historic tourism and culture. The town was originally used by Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. It is still populated with ancient architecture, including a castle built during the 14th century. Conversely if you're a thrill seeker, you can take a zip line across the river from Portugal to Spain. It's the only zip line in the world that crosses country borders, a large river and time zones.

2. Vila Real De Santo Antonio

This hidden village is very near to Alcoutim and is worth visiting if you are already in the area. It also happens to be extremely close to Spain. There are as almost as many residents here who speak Spanish as those who speak Portuguese.

There are several interesting tourist attractions worth visiting. They include the Praca Marques de Pombal and the Arquivo Historico Municipal. You can also hop on a ferry and visit the nearby Spanish village of Ayamonte. The ferry ride is about twenty minutes across the Guadiana River, which is a fun experience by itself.

3. Sagres

Sagres is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in all of Algarve as well as the rest of Portugal. Where other towns in the area are known for their rich and diverse histories, Sagres is known for its sparsely populated beaches and relaxed atmosphere. It's an ideal place to visit if you want to enjoy the surf, but without bumping into too many tourists.

This stunning town is also home to three large beaches that are all within a short walking distance of the village. Of the three beaches, the most popular is Praia da Mareta because it offers shelter from strong winds while still providing medium-to-large surfing waves. If you are interested in the more secluded beaches, then the nearby Praia da Baleeira may be more your style.

Aside from the beaches and the village itself, there is one other tourist attraction that is worth exploring while in Sagres. It is the Fortaleza de Sagres, an old Fort with only a single defensive wall. The other sides of the Fort are guarded by the cliffs themselves. Most people wouldn't visit Sagres for the Fort alone, however, it’s a welcome distraction from the beach for those interested in local history.

4. Serra De Monchique

Many of the best spots in the Algarve are known for their nearby beaches or rivers, but not Serra de Monchique. Instead, the area is filled with a mountain range that offers some of the best views in all of Portugal. There are several trails that adventurous tourists can hike. One trail reaches 900 meters, which is the highest point in all of the Algarve. You can even see Sagres on some days if the weather is clear.

For those who like exploring, you can make the small village of Monchique your resting point before branching out to visit the surrounding areas. Given the location, it’s a quiet town but nonetheless has several cafes, restaurants and even a spa to relax in.

5. Portimao

The final hidden gem in the Algarve is Portimao. This town has a combination of all the things that make a great tourist village. It has history, several great attractions and it is surrounded by beautiful water. Unlike previous villages mentioned in the Algarve, Portimao offers a more urban atmosphere.

While in Portimao you can visit a historical theatre or spend time in a museum that has won several awards. Its popularity is proven by the arrival of several cruise ships that regularly visit the town in the height of summer sending an influx of tourists for a few hours at a time. There's also a nearby artificial reef that is perfect for fans of diving.

Do you prefer to surf on secluded beaches? What about hiking through mountain trails that overlook much of the region? If visiting the Algarve’s historic and cultural attractions more to your taste? These largely unspoilt destinations in the Algarve have a lot to offer and you won't have to worry about bumping into many other tourists.

The Best Algarve Events For 2018

As always, the Algarve events programme for 2018 is packed with a fantastic host of annual festivals and events, including the Portugal Rally, the Mardi Gras Carnival, and the renowned Portugal Masters. There is something for everyone from sizzling summer beach parties to medieval fairs and famous food festivals. Therefore, if you have not yet booked your villa holiday this year, the listed events below might just influence what time of year you choose to visit.


Traditional Sausage Fair, Monchique

This is where you can sample products made from every part of the notorious black pig as well as Medronho, the strawberry tree liqueur from the charming mountain town of Monchique.

Feira do Pão Quente e Queijo Fresco, Vaqueiros is the festival of fresh cheese and hot bread and the Gastronomy Festival of Serra, Tavira takes place from the end of March to April.


Rally of Portugal

Named on 5 different occasions as the Best Rally in the World, the Rally of Portugal celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year. The base for the event is the Algarve Stadium with superb stages at the start and end of the rally with lots of narrow gravel tracks and blind crests to challenge the skills of the drivers.

Liberation Day, April 25th is always an opportunity for entertainment with fireworks, music, and fantastic events in towns across the Algarve.

Easter Events take place across the region with traditional festivals like the Folar Fairs where the traditional ‘folar’ Easter cakes are on display, complete with unshelled hard-boiled eggs on top!

The Flower Torches Festival takes place on Easter Sunday in São Brás de Alportel and the traditional 'Festa Pequena', (The Feast of the Sovereign Mother) takes place in Loulé.

On Palm Sunday the Triumphal Procession takes place in Tavira, a religious event from the 18th century started by the Carmelite Order of Tavira. It is a spectacular parade of litters decorated with gilt woodwork and images of Christ depicting his life from the Mount of Olives to the Cross.


May Day celebrations include several festivals to celebrate spring with music and dancing and a chance to view the traditional skills of the region in bobbin lace, embroidery, basketwork, and esparto grass weaving.

The magnificent international Sand Sculpture Festival takes place at Pêra from May to October with a different theme each year.


Saints Festivals take place all over the region in June where the smells of grilled sardines from barbecues waft over the villages and towns and on warm nights partying continues until the small hours of the morning.

Food, food, and more food are of the order in June with a week of Portuguese gastronomy in Lagoa, the Caldeirada Fish Festival in Armação de Pêra, and Pleasures of the Sea in Aljezur.


The Algarve International Motorbike meeting takes place in Faro where thousands of motorbike enthusiasts from all over the world gather to view the latest innovations in biking.


FATACIL is a major handicraft, agriculture, tourism, and business fair held in Lagoa that includes exciting horse shows and evening entertainment.

The Sardine Festival is held in Portimão with barbecued sardines, live music, and entertainment.

Medieval fairs are held in Silves and Castro Marim and the Shellfish Festival in Olhão is a popular event with live music that keeps revelers up all night.


The Fisherman’s Festival is a gastronomy feast held in Albufeira where you can indulge to your heart's content in freshly caught seafood.


Fairground rides at Santa Iria Fair in Faro has lots of thrills and entertainment for everyone.

The renowned Portuguese Master's golf tournament in Vilamoura takes place at the longest 18-hole course in the country and attracts thousands of golf enthusiasts.

Eight New Villa Properties Available to book in Algarve for 2018

Affinity Villas are pleased to announce a selection of new villas which are available to book now, please see details below.

Casa Marianna in Carvoeiro

This is a spacious 4 bedroom villa with established garden, private pool and children’s play area. It is ideally situated with the beach, restaurants and a small supermarket close by. For more information, click here.

Casa Pinguim in Alvor

This is a large villa capable of hosting groups or big families. Aside from a generous swimming pool and a games room with pool table, outdoor cooking is a must with a wood fired oven and built in barbecue. The quaint resort of Alvor is nearby along with a decked promenade, ideal for romantic evening strolls. For more information, click here.

Casa Andries in Alvor

This villa’s shaded terrace offers a delightful view to the mountains in the distance in addition to overlooking the pool, perfect for keeping an eye on the young ones. There are three double bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and an open plan living room. Nearby, there is the choice of 3 restaurants, a café and a small supermarket. For more information, click here.